Last voyage of the Betsy.

Exploration of the Formidine Rift continues. The traverse of the sector is almost done, and it is time to head "south" towards the galactic edge. I have seen nothing explored by others for a long time, but expect that to change as I get nearer the edge where people have been traversing in the past.

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But first the current system needs a bit of attention, as it is a bit on the odd side. Everything seems to be ringed, including these two metallic bodies dancing their binary dance near the main A-class star. Both are also rich in jumponium elements, so even if I hadn't already stocked up for the upcoming ... rim job... I might as well top up before diving in. Or out, as it is.

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The two little jumponium-rich metallic worlds did not disappoint: Landing was fun in 2.25 g, although easily done with a bit of patience and good use of main thrusters. After going VR, I tend to land vertically but angle the nose up for the last few hundred metres to have full control of the descent. The Asp Explorer is great for this, although there are times I wish the main pilot sat in the lower cockpit seat. Or that we could switch seats.

Here is a close-up of a sulphide vent on one of the metallic worlds. Good detail including the layering - something I hope to some day see on bodies with atmosphere and liquid on the surface as well. Got to be a lot of coding to do to procedurally generate sedimentary features, but I am sure FDEV can pull it off by 2020...

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Betsy, despite my yfooting, is starting to look a bit worse for wear:

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But the journey must continue!

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While stars are getting scarce again out here in the darker black, there are some odd systems to visit at times. I traveled through a red dwarf system with a large high metal content world as the planet furthest out, with the innermost 7 planets being ice bodies. Thanks orrery for showing very clearly that the 8th passenger is most likely a captured rogue as it is orbiting at a high angle to the rest of the system. We could read that from the System Map before, but a picture speaks a 1000 words and at least some illustrative numbers. And visiting a high metal content body with a surface temperature of 20 K is a novelty in itself.

And then there is this one, a lone terraformable water world orbiting rather close to a cold little dwarf star. I want to name it Thule:

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The dark blue speck to the right of the planet has been visible for a long time now and hardly seem to move. While I want to edge that way and see if I can get to it, I fear it is part of the intergalactic tapestry or far enough away to be unreachable.

Onwards, ever onwards.

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Stars are few and far between now, which has the odd effect of inducing a bit of vertigo I find. Now the emptiness seem more real, and route plotting is one long jump at the time. I'm burning through jumponium.

Many of the star systems out here on the edge are very interesting! According to recent modelling, the galaxy should be growing younger towards the edge, although I wonder if it is should be even younger than the multitudes of B-class stars I seem to be passing. I am also seeing atmosphere-free rocky/metallic worlds with ice caps. Not that rare, but I finally found an excuse to land on one to grab some polonium and arsenic:

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The cow patties are actually sulfur vents on the ice - something I don't recall seeing before although they might be possible on rocky ice worlds (this one is a rocky world orbiting a gas giant). Note the beautiful black sky:

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You can almost here the darkness whisper, flying so close to it.

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The Betsy is out of the Formidine Rift and heading into the Errant Marshes. I have moved a bit away from the galactic edge to be able to plot useful routes and stock up on jumponium materials while traversing the sector.

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There is a couple of stops to do in the Errant Marshes, as Lagrange Clouds have been observed here, and there is at least one famous black hole I need to go visit if I can get there. An early attempt at getting there, back years ago, failed. We got engineering and synthesising since, so with a bit of luck I can get there this time.

Materials in demand are now the odd ones, such as niobium, germanium and arsenic. Polonium and yttrium are easy, but those mats hiding in fragments and clusters can be tricky. This spot had both germanium and arsenic among the fragments, so I was in sampling heaven hopping from site to site:

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If you want to find good arsenic prospetivity, look for zones the colour of Cleopatra's eyeshade. Now I am mainly hunting for combos of niobium with arsenic or germanium. These two spots fit the recipe, and the last one was a moon of a moon:

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Travel fatigue might be setting in; I repaired the frameshift drive while in supercruise. Still not a good idea. And my loyal SRV died on me while I was hunting for materials, as I had happily ignored low fuel warnings... At least I'm only 30,000 light years from Colonia and Sol.

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Well, the Betsy did not make it to her first waypoint in the Errant Marshes. Did not quite have the jump range for the last jump needed. No, I do not use external tools - if it is not in-game it is not of my interest. This forum excepted, of course. So after burning through a lot of jumponium I turned her nose back towards the Milky Way. It is soothing to see stars in the sky again, even if there still are not that many around. Route plotting is a pain, although at least it is possible now.

Next waypoint is about another 8000 ly out, so it is time to meander onwards and stock up on materials again.

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This hot little number was a good stopping point for Niobium.

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One can always count on these crystalline forests for the rare materials. This place has bountiful polonium. Or it would be bountiful if the bloody things didn't disappear half the time when shot free.

Onwards, ever onwards.

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The journey continues, after a few weeks' break with family visiting and a quick winter trip to a nice south Pacific island a bit further north than the currently freezing cold one I live on. Coming back I found Betsy floating peacefully in the middle of the Errant Marshes. Onwards we went.

The progress is also slowed down since I'm back to scanning everything I find so I can restack jumponium elements, in addition to the ongoing search for new life, new civilizations and all that. Critical elements are the always pesky arsenic as well as niobium. When I find them together, I just have to land and play the materials lottery a bit until I have enough to move on. This nice ringed metal-rich body needed 9 probes to get the efficiency bonus, which should have activated a few alarm bells when I approached it a bit later. But why do we get the efficiency bonus? I can only think it is because whoever get the dreary job of cleaning, QA and adding our exploration data to the databases at Interstellar Cartographics are happy to have as little overlap as possible.

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Anyway, back to the planet. I should probably have checked the gravity indicator before dropping out of orbital cruise. Gliding down at a shallow angle while watching the gravity hover at 4 g made me wonder how brick-like my final approach would be.

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Betsy performed marvelously though, as long as I kept the nose near level, or dipping no more than 20 - 25 degrees. After a bit of mats collected, we carefully took off again. I keep marveling at the fantastic cockpit view of the Asp Explorer and if I could ever replace it. At least I could fix her paint job whenever we find a port to dock at again...

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Onwards, ever onwards.

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I switched from AspX to iClipper. The only thing I really miss is the cockpit view.

I definitely do not miss the farts. You'd think the Asp ran on beans! And let's face it, Asp isn't very pretty. Even a Sidey is more photogenic. And the Clipper's agility in supercruise is pretty close to the AspX in most respects, and better in yaw axis. I'm lazy and often use yaw so that's a plus for me. ;)
Clipper has the best unobstructive cockpit view imo. However, both Asp X and Kraits have glass floors view.
 
After stepping away from the "Explorer Highway" at the edge of the galaxy and moved about 500 LY towards the core, the Betsy is again effortlessly chewing through the light years as I am heading for the far end of the Errant Marshes.

Good harvest today, with two Earth-likes found. Both previously visited but not mapped and still worth a few CR. One was part of a binary couple with a high metal content world, with another HMC orbiting (almost wrote mooning) them both.

Meanwhile I found that leaving the screen at its native resolution greatly smoothed out the framerate in VR as well as made it crisper. Screen captures look better too, although I do need to figure out how to frame pictures in VR...

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although I do need to figure out how to frame pictures in VR.
Here's my "trick" for that-- Take the screenshots about 10x each, slightly moving my head around. One of them is bound to come out OK. :) I've also been trying to get a feel for how it angles the screenshot. At least with the Oculus Rift, it appears the screenshot direction is slightly angled down and to the left of center, with the "left" part being due to it using the left eye's viewport as the centering. When I tried it on the Vive Pro, the left angle was pretty much the same, but the vertical centering was higher in my field of view.
 
Here's my "trick" for that-- Take the screenshots about 10x each, slightly moving my head around. One of them is bound to come out OK. :) I've also been trying to get a feel for how it angles the screenshot. At least with the Oculus Rift, it appears the screenshot direction is slightly angled down and to the left of center, with the "left" part being due to it using the left eye's viewport as the centering. When I tried it on the Vive Pro, the left angle was pretty much the same, but the vertical centering was higher in my field of view.
Good trick! Ive done the multi shot thing before, but for some reason it didn't occur to me last night. Never actually wondered which eye view from the Rift the game projects to the screen.

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Try a Veluga for exploring instead ! Maybe you can't see past your toes, but the view is amazing, and so is the supercruise handling and range.

Also, 128ton fuel tank ! :)
 
Heading core-wards now, after a long trip across the Errant Marshes. It is nice to see the galaxy move closer again, although I don't remember it being this dirty... Found this nice ammonia world on the way. With a gravity of 2.5 g, pressure of 5,000+ atmospheres and a surface temperature around 230 K it is definitely not terraformable and I don't know why anyone would want to. Ammonia worlds must smell horrid even after terraforming...

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Moving core-wards means less issues plotting routes, but also more distractions now that stars are frequent again and more varied. Really young stars such as proto-stars and O-class stars have started to appear again, and with them bubble-gum planets and the weird life sometimes associated with them:

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And so Betsy moves into the Outer Arm and starts a slow lazy curve back towards the galactic centre. The milky way still looks awfully dirty...

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Betsy is heading into the Outer Arm - Perseus Conflux now. It is time to head towards port, or at least think a bit about it. It is comforting to see the star density increase, although that also mean more dangers as the recent encounter with NSP anomalies (Q0-1) showed.

First part of the Conflux contains stars with heaps of terraformables. They come in all shapes and sizes, and in odd configurations at times. Here is one that is a binary with a gas giant.

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Onwards, ever onwards.

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o7 Betsy, you will be missed. I used my same AspX for 4 years with a pre engineer build on it, e rated modules and an A3 fuel scoop. I love the good ship Pirate Bait. I figured when I got back to the bubble I was going to retire her but just couldn't do it. However she did get a well over do refit. The AspX is one doozy of a ship even relegated to bubble bus duty right now she is still my favorite ship.
 
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